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Moto X Pure Edition vs the Competition

From its new 21-megapixel camera to its big and sharp 5.7-inch quad HD display, the Moto X Pure Edition doesn't just stack up well against other flagship phones. It's going to cost a lot less than most of them when it launches this September at $399 unlocked. That's hundreds less than the iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy S6 and other heavy hitters, although the OnePlus 2 starts at even less ($329). However, unlike the new OnePlus, you'll be able to custom design your Moto X Pure via the Moto Maker website, and it will work on any U.S. LTE network.

Those aren't the only differences between the Moto X Pure and the competition. Here's a in-depth breakdown.

Design

Design junkies, meet your maker -- Moto Maker that is. The Moto X Pure Edition is still one the most customizable phones on the market. Soon-to-be Moto X owners will have full access to the Moto Maker website, where they can customize their phone down to the smallest detail like button colors.

The standard silicone back feels firm with slightly raised ridges that are springy to the touch. The material has been chemically treated to prevent discoloration. But if you're looking for something a bit more organic, Motorola will also offer several wood panels as well as a few leather options.

However, the upcoming OnePlus 2 will also offer high-end wood panels, such as rosewood, black apricot and bamboo to accent its own metal frame. If that's not enough, you can also get the OnePlus 2 with a Kevlar back. Not to be outdone, the LG G4 also gives consumers the option of ordering their phone with a swappable leather back.

When you're done tricking out your new phone, you'll notice that the phone still sports the signature curved back that we've come to associate with Motorola, ensuring a secure grip. The sides of the device will still be made of metal along with the casing for the rear-facing camera and Motorola logo.

Weighing 6.31 ounces and measuring 6.05 x 3 x 0.44 inches, the Moto X Pure is heavier but considerably smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus (6.07 ounces, 6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches) and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (6.07 ounces, 6.2 x 3.1 x 0.33 inches). The reason the X Pure is so compact is because it has a high screen-to-body ration of 76 percent, which is larger than both the Galaxy S6 (71 percent) and the iPhone 6 (68 percent).

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Display

Last year, Motorola was content using a 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 AMOLED display, which delivered wide viewing angles, crisp detail and gorgeous color. The Moto X Pure offers a larger canvas and more resolution with its 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 auad HD display. The Note 4 (5.7-inches Super AMOLED), LG G4 (5.5-inches, IPS Quantum) and Samsung Galaxy S6 (5.1-inches AMOLED) also offer quad HD panels, but the OnePlus 2 has a lower 1080p display.

Boasting 520 pixels per inch (ppi), I was impressed by the level of detail I saw in a demo video. As the white wolf made its way stealthily through a snow-covered forest, I saw a few clumps of frost in the majestic beast's fur. When it comes to pixel density however, the GS6 rules the roost at 577 ppi. The G4 delivers 538 ppi while the Note 4 is a slightly lower 515 ppi.

Specs

Equipped with a 1.8-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 CPU with 3GB of RAM, the Moto X Pure isn't going to be the most powerful smartphone in the land. That distinction currently lies with the Galaxy S6 and its 2.1-Ghz Samsung Exynos Octa-core CPU. But I wouldn't count the Style out too quickly since the LG G4, a rather able performer, has the same chipset. Plus, the X Pure will run pure Android, which means no potentially laggy skin running on top of Android. The OnePlus 2's 1.8-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor is faster on paper, but we'll have to wait and see.

In terms of storage, the base model of the Moto X Pure will have 16GB, but 32GB and 64B configurations will also be available. 64GBs is nice. We'd appreciate a 128GB model for the new Moto X Pure, similar to the iPhone 6 Plus or Galaxy S6. You can expand the Moto's memory to 128GB via the microSD card, but HTC really pushed the envelope allowing the One M9 to expand to a whopping 2TB with the right microSD card.

Camera

The rear and front cameras (13 megapixels/2 megapixels) on the previous Moto X were serviceable, producing relatively vivid, sharp images and video with the proper lighting situations. This time around Motorola is breaking out the big guns with a 21-megapixel rear camera senor powered by Sony, along with a 5-MP shooter up font.

In addition to the beefer pixel count, Motorola is promising improved low-light shots, faster focus and image capture along with more vivid color. The back-mounted camera will also have the ability to capture images and vivid in 4K resolution, a big step up from last year's 1080p limitation.

Even with all those upgrades, the Moto X Pure is going to have to really impress to dethrone the Galaxy S6, which soundly defeated the iPhone 6 Plus and the G4 in a recent camera shoot-out. The GS6 delivers excellent image quality in both bright and dim lighting situations with beautiful color and sharp contrast.

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Battery

An all-day battery? Sure, we've heard it all before, but Motorola is claiming that the Moto X Pure will last over the course of a day with mixed usage. I'll reserve my final judgement until the unit arrives for review. The Moto X has its work cut out for it against the iPhone 6 Plus, which lasted a whopping 10 hours on the Tom's Guide Battery Test (continuous web surfing over 4GLTE than 150 nits of brightness). The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was a distant second with a time of 8:42.

Whenever the Moto X's battery taps out, you won't have to wait too long for a recharge. Thanks to the Turbo Charging feature, the phone should regain 10 hours of battery life after a mere 15 minutes of charging. During a demo, Motorola showed that the Moto X will charge 50 percent faster than the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Value

Instead of partnering with one of the big four providers, Motorola is trying out a new distribution model by selling the Moto X Pure at $399 unlocked when it launches in September. Even better, the phone will work on any U.S. carrier, so Verizon and Sprint users can pick up this handset. Once it goes on sale, you'll be able to purchase this phone from Best Buy, Amazon or on Motorola's website.

The only other phone that can match the Moto X in terms of value is the OnePlus 2. The 16GB configuration of the OnePlus 2 is priced at $329 while the 64GB version will set you back $389. The rest of the phones in this roundup range from $549 to $799 for the full retail price.

What's Missing

Unlike the Galaxy S6, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the OnePlus 2, the Moto X Pure lacks a fingerprint sensor, which means you'll need to wake up your phone to use Android Pay. Then again, the OnePlus 2 doesn't even have an NFC chip, so it doesn't support mobile payments at all.

It's more of a minor quibble, but the Moto X Pure also lacks a USB-C port, which the OnePlus 2 sports. This connector makes it easier to connect the power cord without worrying which end is up. However, it's possible that Motorola's Turbo Charging feature requires regular microUSB for now.

The only other area where the Moto X Pure falls flat is camera controls. If you want a very bare-bones shooting experience, this is the handset for you, but you won't get any of the manual controls or shooting modes the Galaxy S6 or LG G4 offer.

Bottom Line

Motorola continues to tweak its formula in its pursuit to launch its own "flagship killer." From the looks of the Moto X Pure Edition, it seems that the company is well on its way. The latest iteration of the Moto X takes what was a great device and makes it even better via a bigger display, more luxe design, better cameras and more powerful components.

It becomes even harder to deny the Moto X when you see the $399 price tag for an unlocked device that will work on any U.S. carrier. The Turbo Charging feature and the all-day battery life are just feather in Motorola cap. Until the phone launches and in-depth testing is done, the Moto X Pure is just a pipe dream in a fevered smartphone lover's imagination. But I for one will remain cautiously optimistic.